Rishi Sunak announces £1billion in Covid support – £6,000 grants as Omicron cases soar
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Speaking earlier today, Rishi Sunak confirmed £1billion in funding for grants to mitigate the damage caused by the latest wave of COVID-19. Affected businesses in hospitality, including bars, pubs and restaurants, will be able to apply for support of up to £6,000 per premise.
The Chancellor eased the nerves of many businesses and employees when he confirmed the Government would assist certain firms with the costs of Covid-based sick leave.
Outside of restaurants and cafes, Mr Sunak also announced a £30million support package for theatres and museums in a bid to boost the UK’s cultural sector.
Despite this new wave of COVID-19 support measures, the Chancellor did not mention if more Government aid would be coming down the line should more restrictions be put in place.
So far, Omicron has proven to be the most transmissible variant of the COVID-19 disease yet with another 91,743 cases reported across the country yesterday.
Reacting to the announcement, Mike Cherry, the National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), welcomed Rishi Sunak’s new grant measures.
Mr Cherry said: “These positive measures will help alleviate the intense pressures that small firms are currently under, and hopefully arrest a significant decline in confidence over this year.
“With the prospect of one million people sick or self-isolating by January, we encouraged the Chancellor to bring back the Covid statutory sick pay rebate – we’re pleased to see our recommendation taken forward today.
“This move will reduce stress for small employers up and down the country, helping those who are struggling most with depleted cashflow. It’s vital that small firms – once again up against a massively disrupted festive season – can reclaim the costs of supporting staff.”
This train of thought was shared by Kate Nicholls, the CEO of UKHospitality, the nation’s leading hospitality trade association.
Ms Nicholls said: “This is a generous package building on existing hospitality support measures to provide an immediate emergency cash injection for those businesses who, through no fault of their own, have seen their most valuable trading period annihilated.
“It will help to secure jobs and business viability in the short term, particularly among small businesses in the sector, and we particularly welcome the boost to funds for the supply chain and event and business catering companies so badly affected by the reintroduction of work from home guidelines.
“It is a generous top up emergency fund in addition to previous support and with a commitment from Ministers to prioritise hospitality and its supply chain in allocation of funds.
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